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Terrorism & Security

Suicide bombing outside Iran mosque kills dozens

The attack in southeastern Iran came as Shiites commemorated Ashura, one of the most important holidays of the year for Shiites. At least 38 were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

By Correspondent / December 15, 2010

The aftermath of an explosion outside a mosque in Iran's southeastern city of Chabahr is seen in this still image taken from video on Dec.15.

Press TV via Reuters TV/Reuters

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A suicide bombing outside a mosque in southeastern Iran killed at least 38 people Wednesday as worshippers observed an important Shiite holiday.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the city of Chabahar in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan Province. But it is likely to be blamed on Jundallah, a Sunni and ethnic Baluchi militant organization responsible for multiple attacks in the province, which has a significant Sunni population in majority-Shiite Iran.

The attack came as Shiites were commemorating Ashura, an emotionally charged holiday marking the death of the third Shiite imam – Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Mohammed. The final day of Ashura is Thursday.

Agence France-Presse reports that a suicide bomber blew himself up in a city square outside the Imam Hussein mosque as worshippers were participating in a procession. The explosion wounded at least 50 people, and the death toll could rise.

Chabahar’s governor, Ali Bateni, told state news agency IRNA that there were two attackers, but only one explosion. He also said that the “main culprit” behind the bombing has been arrested.

The New York Times notes that Chabahar has not been a frequent target of the terrorist attacks that have plagued the Sistan-Baluchistan Province. Many of the attacks have taken place in the provincial capital, Zahedan.

Jundallah, which claims to fight persecution of the Sunni Baluchi population in Iran, claimed responsibility for a July attack in Zahedan that killed 27 people, The Christian Science Monitor reported. That bombing, also at a Shiite mosque, targeted members of the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps and was billed as revenge for Iran’s execution of Jundallah’s leader. Abdolmalek Rigi, executed in June, was captured in February when the plane he was on was forced to land while flying from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan.

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